*currently digesting* how content is killing us

macro reflections, tangential takeaways, and humanized hot takes from cruising through the cryptosphere 🤠

“It feels like I don’t have time for anything but content…!” said Laura Minquini, founder of AthenaDAO, in a recent chat. It was all too familiar. Whether you’re a builder, communicator, or human with the Internet, we’ve all been feeding—and eating from—the content machine. And it feels like we’ve collectively had our fill.

This week, I’m *currently digesting* the opportunity cost of our content cadence.

Let’s look at this from both sides, the push and the pull.

On the push front, we have organizations. From new web3 DAOs trying to foster community to Fortune500s navigating a sea of stakeholders, there’s growing pressure to push out fresh, compelling content—and constantly. It’s how you get eyeballs and ears, hit your numbers, and chase the most insidious of KPIs: rapid growth. We also have individual creators who are trying to cut through the ever-louder noise to make a living and simply don’t have the budgets of multinationals. 

And on the pull front, we have consumers. Over the years, we’ve been drawn into platforms in increasingly sketchy ways. And now we find ourselves crumbling under the weight of it all. It’s truly impossible to “keep up.” And I find myself asking: keep up with what? As a test, I peeked at good ole Instagram. In the 10 most recent posts on my feed, I have: five ads/sponsored, four orgs I follow, and one person I know. I cared to look at maybe two of them.

Some may say web3 social is the answer to our woes. Personally, I think it offers promise on certain fronts, namely for independent creators. But if we don’t address our collective problem, we’ll find ourselves in a situation where we have more interesting, shared revenue models…but a still-shitty stream of constant stuff that we cannot keep up with (and kind of don’t want to). 

However, beyond it feeling like a slow descent into a mental health hellscape, there’s another real issue with our content landscape: opportunity cost. Laura of AthenaDAO isn’t alone. The Boys Club gals shared their feelings about the “content treadmill” recently: “It doesn’t leave us a lot of space for other big strategic bets… It’s hard to prioritize when you have to get a newsletter out on Wednesday and you have to get a podcast out on Friday.” And this rings true for everyone: We all only have so many hours in a day. And if we want to build better, we need to reclaim our time. We deserve mental clarity, and the content climate isn’t conducive to it. And let’s not forget: Every builder is also a consumer, spending time scrolling and bookmarking like the rest of us. So many of us are burning the candle at both ends.

I’m going to be bold here, especially for someone who founded an agency called Content Coopérative: Content sucks these days. It sucks brain power, time, and money. We quite literally can’t focus on—or budget in—the important work we set out to do because we’re chasing algorithmic affection. I’ve seen it with countless web2 clients too: growing content needs, shrinking budgets, untenable production pace…all of which leads to drowning us in mediocrity. Add in the introduction of readily available AI and we have to ask ourselves: Do any of us have the capacity to bear this new burden, to surface truth and value from the onslaught of stuff we’re about to be served? It’s a race to the bottom for everyone except the platforms profiting off of this intellectually cheap model.

What can we do about it? Honestly, still digesting over here. For now, I’ve landed on the following: I’m pushing for less but better in my work. And I’m digging into new paths to engaging and exciting people. Web3 offers us a lot of ways to connect in more authentic ways. I’m looking forward to riffing on how the more hive-mind, deep-personalization mechanisms can help us stop feeding the content machine. Because a semi-regular, highly nutritious snack sounds pretty damn good right now. (She says, as she concludes…a piece of content.)

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PS x PSA: Web3 needs women. I got into the space via SheFi and can’t recommend it enough. Check it out. Follow along. Secure a spot in the next cohort. And feel free to write me if you have any questions. It’s really the best. 💫💫

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